DNA downunder

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

 

I have just spent three days in Sydney at the first DNA downunder conference. Blaine T Bettinger, Louise Coakley and many other presenters showed us better ways to use and analyse our DNA.

They also ran single day events in many capital cities in Australia (not Hobart).

The conference was held at the Castle Hill RSL club – a lot bigger than the one at Sorell I am used to.

Some topics I listened and took notes from were:

Thursday

  • Understanding and interpreting your ethnicity results
  • What do Australians think about DNA testing?
  • Using autosomal DNA for 18th and 19th century mysteries
  • Evaluating a genealogical conclusion including DNA
  • Latest advances in third party tools for autosomal DNA
  • Are you doing everything to identify your DNA matches?

Friday

  • Ethical and legal considerations for DNA evidence
  • Great great DNA
  • Shared matches and genetic networks
  • Advanced third party tools
  • Practical tips for working with speculative trees

Saturday

  • Stories behind the segments
  • DNA and the aftermath of uncovered family secrets
  • Phasing and mapping your DNA
  • Limitations of cousin matching
  • The Helen Marley story – case study
  • Panel – DNA: A look at the future

As you can see from my programme, there was little time to synthesize everything we were learning. But my takeaways from the conference were:

  1. check those shared matches and make use of the coloured dots in Ancestry
  2. use chromosome browsers in MyHeritage and FTDNA to find those shared and triangulated matches
  3. use tools like DNA Painter to map your segments – keep records of who you have already painted
  4. join DNA facebook groups to get help
  5. test all those close relatives – but explain the ethics and legal side of testing to them first

Here are some DNA Facebook groups that could be handy: Remember to answer the questions when asking to join

Blaine also has his own YouTube channel and presentations for Legacy Family Tree with some great videos on both of them related to DNA and tools at the different testing companies.

Many thanks to Alan and Anthea Phillips and Alona Tester from Gould Genealogy and Unlock the Past for organizing such a great conference.

Readers: For those who might have attended the conference (one day or three day), what was your best takeaway?

Update DNA results

At the beginning of 2019, I decided to start tracking how many new DNA matches I received over a 6 month period. So here are the results.

In January on Ancestry – 4th cousins or closer

  • I had 228 : June 269 – an increase of 41
  • Mum had 295 : June 347 – an increase of 52
  • Philip had 209: June 237 – an increase of 28
  • Dad had 187: June 210 – an increase of 23

In January on My Heritage – total matches

  • I had 3472: June 4157 – an increase of 685
  • Mum had 3990: June 4860 – an increase of 870
  • Philip had 3555: June 4239 – an increase of 684
  • Dad had 3508: June 4243 – an increase of 735

In January on FTDNA – total matches

  • I had 241: June 259 – an increase of 18
  • Mum had 283: June 303 – an increase of 20
  • Philip had 202: June 219 – an increase of 17
  • Dad had 198: June 220 – an increase of 22

I really like using Ancestry as it quickly tells me if I have common ancestors.

  • Sue 50 common ancestors – 4 unsure links – these are generally 5th-8th cousins
  • Mum 52 common ancestors – 7 unsure links as these are mainly back in the 1700s or early 1800s before formal registration and censuses
  • Philip 48 common ancestors – 5 unsure links when using thrulines and other clues
  • Dad 11 common ancestors of which 4 are kits I manage – Dad is definitely the problem person when it comes to DNA and the paper trail not matching.

When I know where a match is on my tree, I star them on Ancestry

I am lucky to have nearly 10000 people on a database on my home computer, so can quickly work out if a person is a match or not by using their online tree and my database.

  • Sue 66 stars
  • Mum 69 stars
  • Philip 65 stars
  • Dad 13 stars

I am doing quite well with messages sent through Ancestry – probably getting replies on 1 out of every 3 sent. I do check when the last time the match was on the website and will more likely message those who have been on in the last few months.

Ancestry now allows you to colour code for family lines or any other purpose you might need. When I star a match, I also use the notes section to put in how that person matches my mother or father eg Sue – Phyl – Hannah – George – John and Ann Davey nee Dixon This means I can see the most recent common ancestor at a glance (MRCA). That allows me to colour code very quickly eg Davey Dixon line

Readers: How are you going with working out matches using your DNA results? Are you using the new tools from each testing company? Which tools are you finding the most useful?

 

No genetic relationship but ….

Mum and Sibyle have been friends for ages through the Girl Guide movement where they were both commissioners at some stage and members of Trefoil.  A few years ago they were travelling back from a meeting in Launceston via Evandale where many of my COLGRAVE and DAVEY relatives were born. Mum pointed out a house where her great aunt Ethel lived and mentioned she had brought me up there one time when I was a baby.  To mum’s surprise, Sibyle said Ethel was her cousin – in fact they were first cousins once removed.

So how are mum and Sibyle related?

They both share Francis COLGRAVE and Isabella WATKINS(ON) – Sibyle through her grandfather Samuel Colgrave and mum through her great grandfather Francis John Colgrave, sibling to Samuel.

Sibyle turned 100 last year and as she is one generation older than my mum, I thought I would ask if I could get her DNA tested. She said yes, so I spent a fantastic afternoon in the nursing home, chatting to Sibyle while she worked up enough spit to put in the tube to send back to Ancestry.

Wait …wait … wait …

Two nights ago, the results came in. Now as 2C1R I was expecting to see mum and Sibyle sharing at least some DNA but when I went to shared matches for mum, Sibyle was not there. Why not?  I asked on a Facebook DNA group was it unusual for 2C1R not to share DNA and had many replies but one was from Blaine Bettinger who had written a great post about just this problem.

Yesterday I uploaded Sibyle’s DNA to Genesis. This is the next version from Gedmatch. It allows people to compare others who have tested with other DNA companies not just Ancestry.  Because of the algorithm used by Ancestry some smaller segments might not be included in their results, so I was hoping those smaller segments would be there in Genesis.

More waiting … but using the one to one comparison, I found mum and Sibyle did share DNA but only 18cM over two segments which should mean they relate about 5 generations back.

Results comparing mum and Sibyle using Genesis.

I then decided to compare the amount of DNA from matches shared by both mum and Sibyle. The results in the table are from Ancestry other than the one where I have Genesis.

Readers: Has anyone else had a surprise when there was no DNA when you thought there should be especially with closer relatives?

Family Snaps

This week in #52ancestors the theme is “Family photos”. Unsure if this meant any photos taken by a family member or photos of families, I thought I would add a few of both in this post as a gallery of snaps. Many of these photos have been used in previous posts.

 

Love the research!

Maybe I should have been a detective!

Since retiring from teaching eight years ago, I have started to organize my family history research more carefully. This is mainly because of the DNA tests I have requested from members of my family. I am having to keep better records of what I have done and who are matches to all the people I have had tested. Thanks to UTAS for the Diploma of Family History which I have completed since retirement. They helped with the organizing and planning for my research.

At the moment I am working with an as yet unknown 4th cousin with username wollen100. She matches my mother, my brother and me with DNA . It is only  a small amount about 21cMs for each of us. But we think it might come down through the BOYD side of the tree.

Me, daughter of my mother, daughter of Hannah DAVEY, daughter of Martha COLGRAVE, daughter of Susan BOYD, daughter of John Henry or Holliday BOYD and Martha BOYD , was Virco/Vico nee HEARN.

Birth certificate of Harriet where father is noted as John Holliday Boyd

On two birth certificates for John’s children he is mentioned as John Holliday Boyd. Looking on Ancestry, most public trees have his parents as William and Ann Boyd from Ireland. But I think that name Holliday must be significant. Also I noted that John had no children with the name of William. Perhaps a clue that William is not his father.

John was a convict tried at the Central Criminal Court in London and sent to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) in the 1830s. But on the convict conduct record it says his native place was Plymouth which is in Devon in England. I have found a John Holliday Boyd born in 1809 in Maker, Cornwall which is across the river from Plymouth. Parents were Robert Boyd and Nancy Holliday and their marriage was in 1797 in Devon. Maybe these are the couple I need to concentrate on to find that connection to my 4th cousin.

She has a lot of ancestors in the Plymouth area of Devon with surnames VEALE, WYATT, ELLIOTT, PRIDEUX, WEST, SWAIN and WICKETT. So more research needed to connect my Boyds to one of these names on my cousins tree.   I have found an Ann Boyd marrying a Richard Wyatt in 1793 at Ivybridge in Devon. Maybe Ann and Robert are siblings!

Come on Sue, get on with that research!!